Andy Kropa/Invision/AP

Former News Anchor, Pageant Winner Gretchen Carlson Named New Chair Of Miss America Organization

Monday, January 01, 2018

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — Former Fox News Channel anchor and 1989 Miss America Gretchen Carlson was named chairwoman of the Miss America Organization's board of directors Monday, and three other past pageant winners will join her on the board.

The new leadership comes less than two weeks after leaked emails surfaced showing CEO Sam Haskell and others disparaging the appearance, intellect and private lives of former Miss Americas. Haskell resigned Dec. 23, along with two other top leaders.

The selection of Carlson marks the first time a former pageant winner has served as the leader of the nearly 100-year-old organization. The organization also announced the appointments of three other past Miss Americas: 2012 winner Laura Kaeppeler Fleiss, 2000 winner Heather French Henry and Kate Shindle, who won in 1998 and now serves as president of the Actors' Equity Association. Their appointments take effect immediately, as does Carlson's.

"Everyone has been stunned by the events of the last several days, and this has not been easy for anyone who loves this program," Carlson said in a statement issued by the Miss America Organization. "In the end, we all want a strong, relevant Miss America and we appreciate the existing board taking the steps necessary to quickly begin stabilizing the organization for the future."

Carlson said she and the new board would immediately work with all Miss America stakeholders, including the organization's state executive directors and former state titleholders, "to continue an ongoing inclusive and transparent process to identify additional new board members and management."

The new board also looks forward to working with the organization's many sponsors, "seeking input while creating a viable, forward-looking Miss America Organization for this and future generations of young women," Carlson said.

The emails already cost the pageant its television production partner and raised questions about the future of the nationally televised broadcast from Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall the week after Labor Day each year.

Dick Clark Productions cut ties with the Miss America Organization over the emails, calling them "appalling."